For Beautiful Covers Talk to Toni Leland

three inches wide

When my former publisher told me it was closing its doors, I was writing my third Connie Holt novel, Cross of Gold Road. My readers were expecting a new adventure and I had signed a contract to produce one, knowing that the publisher would provide an illustrator, and I would be able to shrug that part of producing the novel off my shoulders. Toni Leland and I have been friends for a long time. She is another author who writes serious novels and also prose books about horses: I had read her work and she mine. I knew she was an artist and photographer besides being an writer. When the publisher fell apart,  I consulted Toni about my crying need for a beautiful cover for my latest book. She came through for me: enthusiastic, creative, professional, efficient, knowledgeable both about art and writing.  We talked about the story and what the horse should look like and of course what I wanted the story to achieve. In short order, she produced the striking cover above. Meanwhile, I made the decision to republish novels one and two, The Case of the Three Dead Horses (now renamed Their Proud Hoofs), the first, and He Trots the Air, the second. Much of 2014 has been spent in redoing those novels and happiest of all, Toni has created two more covers for me. When novel one is completed, all three books will have custom covers created by Toni Leland. I know that the next time I’m selling my books to the public, people will be drawn to the book by Toni’s knowledge of design and the gorgeous use of color. Now it will be much easier to introduce the story to the inquiring person who says, “Did you write this book?” and to talk to the inquirer about the sinister, ramshackle barn in the back, the rundown vegetation, and the beautiful horse in the foreground, and how they all combine to tell the story.

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